How to say “It’s difficult to …” in Japanese Verb with ~にくい : How to use にくい with Japanese verbs to express difficulty with actions.

We hope you are all fired up and ready to take on today’s Japanese challenge. In today’s article we are discussing にくい (Nikui) which is added to the end of verbs to express difficulty in certain actions.

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We will start by looking at how to form the grammar structure and then move on to building some sentences to help you learn the pattern more effectively. Lastly, we will give you a learning method so you can go off and put this new language tool into practice. It’s a really useful grammar point to learn as the structure can also be used with maybe other verbs too. Let’s get into it!

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So what is Nikui (Japanese verb + にくい)?

Nikui means “difficult” in Japanese. If you add it to the end of a Japanese verb it changes the meaning to “difficult to do that verb”.

This is a really good structure to know because it allows you to be more creative with your verbs and express your actions more thoroughly. Learning these types of forms is a really powerful way to boost your Japanese skill and express yourself more deeply.

You can use this phrase when you are having difficulty doing a certain action or to say that you find a certain action difficult. Whether that’s driving a car, explaining or concept or expressing how you really feel to someone.

This form is incredibly simple to construct as you will now find out. Join us in the next section where we show you exactly how to turn verbs into “nikui” verbs.

How do you form にくい verbs?

So to create this wonderful verb form you take a masu form verb like たべます remove the ます form and add にくい to create たべにくい “hard to eat”. Look at the graph below to see some other verb conjugations with にくい


Looking at this table here you can see it is a fairly easy form to create. You should try and practice this with other verbs to help you solidify the knowledge.

Now, lets take a look at some example sentence to help you understand how to use it in context.

Imagine you are studying some kanji that are hard to remember, you could use this sentence:

Kono kanji wa oboenikui desu
This Kanji is hard to remember

See how it takes “Oboemasu” To remember and turns it into “Oboeniku”. In these examples we have added “Desu” to the end to make it more polite.

With this next example imagine someone has asked you an awkward of difficult question, you could reply with:

Kono shitsumon ni wa kotaenikui desu
This question is hard to answer

This is a great way to express the difficulty you are having with a certain action. Lastly et’s imagine that you have a bike that is really old and doesn’t really work any more you can say:

Kono jitensha wa furukute norinikui desu
This bike is old and hard to ride

Pay close attention to the structure of these examples. Try to read them aloud and memorise them. That way you should be able to remember them easily and use them in your own Japanese speech.

Effective study tip for (Japanese verb + にくい)

To make sure you really take this new form and run with it straight away, we want to offer you a practical study tip that you can take away right now and implement to ensure you never forget how to use it.

Start by writing out 20 ます verbs and turn them into にくい endings. Once you have done this you should then create your own sentences with each verb. Try and make them as varied as possible with situations spanning from everyday life to abstract concepts.

Once you have made 20 sentences, read them aloud until you remember them completely. You will then be able to recall and use the pattern in daily conversation at your leisure.

Well guys we really hope you enjoyed reading today’s online Japanese lesson on にくい and we also hope that you learnt something new from the lesson. If you have any questions at all or have any other topics you would like us to cover in these articles please let us know and we would be happy to do so. Remember to use the advice from the effective study tip and you will be using にくい in no time. Until next time, またね.

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